GT3.8

Also from Issue 157

  • Preview: Ruf’s 700-hp, 235-mph CTR3
  • The Unpublished IROC Story
  • Driver Jack McAfee Remembered
  • A Day Inside of Weissach
  • Three 356 Concours Kings
  • Ferry Porsche’s Carrera RS 2.7
  • Survivor: The Risky Business 928
  • Market Update: 1974-89 911s
  • Interview: Bobby Rahal
  • 911 SC Targa Turns into a Speedster
  • Mess-Less Oil Filter for 924S/944/968
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RUF RGT 1
RUF RGT 2
RUF RGT 3
RUF RGT 4
RUF RGT 5
RUF RGT 6
RUF RGT 7

Nearly limitless configurations are Ruf’s advantage, and come from the process of building each RGT up from a bare shell with additions and modifications made along the way. But, while you’ll have to talk Ruf into building an RGT your way, Alois had a certain balance in mind when he cooked up the RGT. So I was determined to let the rear-drive, two-seat demonstrator explain its mission in life for itself.

On the move, the extra displacement means the engine has plenty of low-down punch, which makes normal driving a pretty relaxed affair. When you feel the need for speed, though, the light flywheel and latent torque punt the car forward, in this case even harder than you would expect thanks to the lower final drive. The bigger pistons are not significantly heavier than the 3.6 items, so the rate at which the motor picks up revs and chases the redline is hardly affected. Mid-range urge is simply incredible and the sound that accompanies it is a flat-six growl at low revs that deepens in the mid-range as the larger pistons build momentum.

With less soundproofing than the standard GT3, the RGT’s cabin is a better acoustic chamber for enthusiasts. Past 5000 rpm and all the way to the cut-out, the primal scream of the flat six is something on the other side of addictive. The reality, however, is that you’re now picking up speed so quickly that the heady soundtrack becomes merely a backdrop to other goings on — like scenery flashing past, corners, braking, and the next gearchange that’s fast approaching.

After the few kilometers it takes to really settle into RGT-land, it dawns on you that, compared to the hardcore motor, the excellent low-speed ride is something of an anomaly. And it’s only when you start to go fast and things tighten up that you realize how much of a dual nature this 997 really has. It looks brutal at rest, yet has a cosseting character when you are merely loping. It switches back to brutal if you push harder, though. Then the RGT’s thinly veiled aggression boils back to the surface, creating a 911 that hovers up the tarmac and dives for apexes in the intervening bends like a track fiend.

With mild stabilizing understeer pushing the nose wide in the tighter bends, you can trailbrake to rotate the tail on the way in and use the beefier torque curve to balance the chassis on the way out. Then the 911’s stock in trade — fabulous rear-end traction — helps you put all 445 horses down. The information from the power steering remains uncorrupted, even with 20-inch rubber. However, country roads around Pfaffenhausen feature some of the best surfaces in the world, and we know that this would not translate well to broken and badly maintained roads. In the U.S., a similar comparison exists between the good roads around Atlanta and the crumbling tarmac in the Los Angeles area. So, on that basis — and depending on where you live — we would recommend the smaller, 19-inch wheel-and-tire combination for better all-around results.

Porsche’s GT3 does what it says on the box. It’s a road racer with some sop to civilization, its RS brother moving the goalposts closer to the racer side. With a Ruf RGT, however, you get a car with a breadth of ability that reaches further towards pampering you in normal driving, yet at the other end of the scale you can have it set up to be no less aggressive than the factory’s hardest road racer. Thus, the new RGT has a unique set of values that makes it a distinctly different proposition from the GT3 and GT3 RS.

Scanning the options list, we noted that you can even have an RGT Cabriolet should you want to go that route. However, like AMG’s CLK DTM Cabriolet, this might just be a model too far…

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